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Enigmatic Photographer Vivian Maier Gets Close-Up in Documentary

finding viv

It’s Vivian Maier‘s moment. The enigmatic Chicago nanny-cum-master street photographer died in 2009 at the age of 87, leaving behind more than 100,000 photographs from a lifetime of shooting. Now her life and work are the subject of a cultural triple play, with an exhibition on view through December 14 at New York’s Howard Greenberg gallery that coincides with the publication of Vivian Maier: Self-Portraits (powerHouse), setting the stage for the November 17 U.S. premiere of Finding Vivian Maier at the DOC NYC film festival.

The documentary, directed and produced by John Maloof and Charlie Siskel (Bowling for Columbine, Religulous) with the help of Kickstarter backers, unravels the life of the now famous Maier as well as Maloof’s journey to piece together her past. Its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival generated not only buzz but a deal with Killer Films to develop the documentary into a narrative feature (we’re thinking Frances McDormand would make a great Viv).
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Quote of Note | Hiroshi Sugimoto

(Hiroshi Sugimoto)
Hiroshi Sugimoto, “Sea of Japan, Rebun Island” 1996

“Humans have changed the landscape so much, but images of the sea could be shared with primordial people. I just project my imagination on to the viewer, even the first human being. I think first and then imagine some scenes. Then I go out and look for them. Or I re-create these images with my camera. I love photography because photography is the most believable medium. Painting can lie, but photography never lies: that is what people used to believe.”

-Hiroshi Sugimoto in an interview that appears in Art Studio America: Contemporary Artist Spaces, out later this month from Thames & Hudson

Watch This: Iwan Baan on Building Homes in Unlikely Places

No starchitect’s portfolio is complete without a jaw-dropping image by Iwan Baan. The Dutch photographer stumbled into the architectural world in 2005, when he pitched his services to Rem Koolhaas. Baan got the gig and began what would become his first major project: documenting the construction of OMA’s China Central Television (CCTV) building and Herzog & de Meuron’s completed National Olympic Stadium, both in Beijing. Less than a decade later, the likes of Frank Gehry, SANAA, Morphosis, and Diller Scofidio + Renfro keep Baan on speed dial. “What I find really fascinating is what happens when architects and planners leave and these places become appropriated by people,” explained Baan in his talk last month in New York at TEDCity2.0. Watch to learn about his search for pop-up cities and villages built in the unlikeliest places using the most bizarre methods.

International Center of Photography Kicks Off Robert Capa Centenary

(David Scherman)Robert Capa (né Endré Friedmann) was born 100 years ago yesterday, and the International Center of Photography will spend the next year celebrating, so you have plenty of time to whip up a “Falling Soldier“-themed cake.

The legendary photojournalist’s work will be the subject of “Capa in Color,” opening at ICP on January 31. This first exhibition to look at Capa’s color work across his entire career will present over 100 color images that he made from 1941-54, from World War II to his trip in the U.S.S.R. with John Steinbeck, to images of Picasso, Humphrey Bogart, and Ingrid Bergman, to the last images he took in Vietnam in 1954. “Part of the goal of the 100th celebration is to reveal the richness and depth of the Capa Archive at ICP,” says Cynthia Young, curator of ICP’s Capa Archive, which recently received a $117,500 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences. “Recovering his color photography is part of that work and the discovery of his voice on the 1947 radio recording almost single-handedly brings him to life in a way we have never experienced before.”

Sure, his famous D-Day photograph haunts all of our dreams, but what did Capa sound like? Wonder no more: the ICP has released the only known recording of the his voice, a 33 1/3 rpm microgroove recording was discovered on eBay. It’s Capa’s October 20, 1947 appearance on Hi! Jinx, a national program on NBC radio that was created in 1946 by Jinx Falkenburg and Tex McCrary. Here’s that segment—”Bob Capa Tells of Photographic Experiences Abroad“—digitized for your 21st century listening pleasure.

Quote of Note | Joan Fontcuberta

“In my project Miracles et Cie (2002) I settle my scores with the supernatural. My images are an ironic homage to the touching facet of the history of photography, which has been used to fake the presence of ghosts and spirits: In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many crooks used photography’s powers of persuasion to ‘demonstrate’ their paranormal powers. But this work’s critical objective consists of an outrageous reflection on how the current whirlpool of beliefs, cults, rituals, and superstitions has set us adrift. Here, by using conjuring effects, photography becomes the document of the illusion.”

-Catalan artist Joan Fontcuberta, interviewed in Cabinets of Wonder by Christine Davenne (Abrams, 2012)

Pictured: Joan Fontcuberta, “The Miracle of Dolphinsurfing” (2002)

Wanted: Photo Editor with an Eye for Beauty

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder but it can more reliably be found in the pages (virtual and actual) of Allure, the long-reigning Condé Nast queen of the beauty books. Her luminous, smokey-eyed majesty’s website is in want of a photo editor. The full-time freelancer will be responsible for “researching proprietary and stock film for the site’s slideshows, blogs, and special projects; preparing web-optimized images; scouting/assigning new talent for original shoots; and shooting digitally.” Be ready to show off your superior communication skills, Photoshop chops, and a working knowledge of the subtle differences among a BB cream, a CC cream, and a tinted moisturizer.

Learn more about and apply for this photo editor, Allure.com job or view all of the current Mediabistro design, art, and photo jobs.

Magnum Photos Adds Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael as Full Members

Magnum Photos has added to its esteemed ranks: Olivia Arthur and Peter van Agtmael were voted in as full members at last week’s general meeting in London. Both joined the agency as nominees in 2008. London-based Arthur has been photographing professionally since 2003 and has already racked up awards including the Royal Photographic Society’s Vic Odden Award and the OjodePez-PhotoEspana Award. Her first book, Jeddah Diary, about young women in Saudi Arabia, was published last year. Van Agtmael, a Yale grad with honors such as the ICP Infinity Award and a W. Eugene Smith grant under his belt, has focused his work in recent years on the Middle East, covering the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their effects on life in America. A collection of his combat photography, 2nd Tour Hope I Don’t Die, was published in 2009.

Magnum has also welcomed a new nominee member in Michael Christopher Brown. The Washington native, who often uses his camera phone in the field, got a close-up of his own in the recent HBO documentary Witness: Libya, about his experiences during the 2011 Libyan Revolution. His latest project examines resource conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

World Monuments Fund Asks: ‘What Does Preservation Look Like to You?’

There’s a time and a place for ruin porn in the quest to preserve crumbling cultural landmarks, whether in Damascus or Detroit, but the World Monuments Fund is taking a more upbeat approach with its inaugural “Everyday Preservationist” photo contest. The New York-based organization has put out the call for “original, evocative digital images that advocate for historic sites by reflecting their aesthetic beauty and importance to the communities in which they are located.” Entries will be accepted through July 31 in five categories: appreciation, adaptive reuse, sensitive urban development, thoughtful tourism, and traditional building materials. Start scouring your digial folders immediately, because the public voting is now underway. Mark Robbins, executive director of the International Center of Photography, will have the final say in selecting the five winners in each category based on on originality, technical excellence, composition, overall impact, and artistic merit.

Behind the Lens: Michael Gross to Write Book on Fashion Photography

Having peeked behind the gates of trophy estates and triplex apartments on both coasts and revealed the “lust, lies, greed, and betrayals that made the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” Michael Gross is returning to the fashion world he so astutely chronicled in Model, his 1995 tome. The author has inked a deal for Girls on Film, “a look at modern fashion photography from a different angle—behind the lens—focusing on the photographers, and the magazines and marketers who hire them to make images of beautiful girls (and some boys) to sell products and manipulate people,” according to a deal report from Publishers Marketplace. The book is slated for publication by Atria Books in 2015, but you don’t have to wait that long to get a fresh fix. Gross’s House of Outrageous Fortune: Fifteen Central Park West, the World’s Most Powerful Address is due out in March of next year. Fingers crossed for chapters on Bob Stern and the joys of limestone alongside scoops on residents such as Lloyd Blankfein and Sandy Weill.
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Watch: Albert Vecerka on Architectural Photography

Taking a good photo of a great building is no easy task, as Flickr or Instagram can demonstrate. Meanwhile, even the most expansive Pinterest page of stunning architectural images is likely to feature the work of a relatively small group of photographers–those who have mastered the tricky art and science of capturing the utility, spirit, and beauty of the designed environment. Many of those names are followed by “Esto,” the firm built on the image collection of Ezra Stoller. Esto assignment photographer Albert Vecerka was on hand last week at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Center for the latest in the museum’s “Harlem Focus” series. “I look to tell a story about a place; a neighborhood, a building, a room,” Vecerka has said. “Looking for the right light, right day, or right time of day is a part of that narrative, and it is no different for commercial assignments than for personal projects.” Watch the event below and then mark your calendar for June 26, when architectural historian John Reddick will be joined by curators and gardeners from the Central Park Conservatory Gardens to talk “Garden Design: The Art of Color, Variety, and Form.”

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